Frequently asked questions
Work in progress.
Why would architects agree to give away their work?
There are many possible reasons:
- Because they want to see their houses being built multiple times.
- Because they want to change the world.
- Because spreading their work helps their reputation - which in return is economically interesting.
Also, many innovative buildings are being paid for by NGOs who are not interested in keeping their ideas private.
My project isn't replicable without proper training. Does it make sense to list it nevertheless?
Yes. Specify within the discription of your project what kind of training is needed and how/where one can obtain it.
There are hardly any architects in many African countries - who is the 'target group' of osafa.org?
Osafa.org goes far beyond classic "architecture". It addresses all "stakeholders" of construction projects alike: NGOs, government agencies, individual/hobbyist builders, construction companies, architects, etc.
Osafa.org specifically tries to make architectural innovation accessible to everyone.
Why only Africa?
Because that's what the founders of Osafa.org (the Burkinian-Austrian NGO Laafi) know. However, you're free to replicate projects listed on Osafa.org in any developing country, or list projects from outside Africa if you believe they might be useful in an African context as well. The NGO Architecture for Humanity plans to launch a similar platform with a global approach in 2007, see here.
Can I use Osafa.org commercially?
Sure! We'd love to see that. No matter if you are a construction company wanting to add a project listed on Osafa.org to your portfolio, or an architect looking for inspiration, or an enterprise wanting to, say, build a supermarket based on an Osafa project - you are free to do that as long as you adhere to the Licencing requirements.
Is Osafa.org a competitor of Architecture for Humanity?
No, it's similar but complimentary. Architecture for Humanity (or AFH) plans to launch an "Open Architecture Network" (working title), as advocated by Cameron Sinclair, which going to be broader (both geographically and topically) than Osafa.
Osafa.org focuses on Africa and the documentation of existing building projects. Helge is in contact with Cameron about his Open Architecture Network and we will try to support each other and make the two projects compatible and interlinked.
What languages is Osafa.org being offered in?
As many as someone is willing to contribute in. Initial languages are English, French, Swahili and Portuguese, which are the most important linguae francae in sub-saharan Africa (see map). If you think a further language is necessary (most important missing one in my view: Arabic) and you can handle maintenance and translation, drop me a note and I'll install a wiki installation in that language.
Who is behind Osafa.org?
The small NGO "Laafi - Initiative for Development" finances health projects in rural areas of Burkina Faso since 1994. We are a bunch of friends (Austrians and Burkinabés) and were involved in a range of said construction projects already. In 2005 we started to experiment with knowledge transfer via the internet and launched Burkina.at, a site connecting German-speaking NGOs working in Burkina Faso. Osafa is headed by Helge Fahrnberger, who in his day job has been building web applications with a focus on "Social Software" since 1998.